Turkish manti is a food you have to taste! Tiny dumplings filled with spicy ground lamb or beef, boiled like pasta. Then they are served with garlicky yogurt and spicy butter sauce. This is a to-die-for combination!
If you are interested in Turkish recipes like manti, you should try our Turkish eggs recipe, which is served with yogurt and spicy butter sauce too. Believe it or not, we love this yogurt and butter sauce combo even on stuffed grape leaves dolmas too. They match together wonderfully!
What is Manti?
Dumplings in Turkish are called manti and it’s one of the most famous Turkish foods. Just like Turkish kebabs. A dough similar to pasta dough is rolled out, cut in tiny squares and filled with a spicy ground lamb or beef filling. Traditionally, we serve manti with a garlicky yogurt sauce and a spicy butter sauce on it.
Manti is not only known in Turkey. Just like borek, it is famous in Middle East, Central Asia and Balkan cuisines. It has different names in each culture for sure. Manty, mantu and monta are just a few of them.
It’s not an easy dish for many people, so people may not prefer making it at home. If you want to eat Turkish manti, but have no time to make it, you can find it packaged at markets. We find them less tasty though as they have almost no filling inside. In Turkey, there are some small bakery shops which sell handmade Turkish dumplings. These are better than market versions. If the owner of these shops is an old lady and if she herself makes the dumplings, this is even better!
Today we will talk about how to make manti at home as homemade food always outweighs.
In Turkish Culture
As making these tiny dumplings is not a very easy job, Turkish women come together at one of their homes and make them in a teamwork.
At least 3 women - sometimes more work together to make dumplings especially for special days like weddings, welcome or farewell parties or family unions. One of them makes the dough and rolls it out, another one cuts it into squares and the other one puts filling on each square. And then they all start to close them up.And they never miss the chance of having some chat; well, maybe a bit gossiping! They can hardly realize how time runs when they finally seal the last dumpling!
Teamwork is definitely a must if you are planning to make manti for a large group of guests, but you can handle it yourself if you make it for two of you.
So what goes into the Turkish manti recipe?
- Dough: You don’t need many ingredients for homemade manti dough. Flour, egg, salt and water are all you need. We sometimes make it with whole wheat flour, but all purpose flour is better.
- Filling: We use ground lamb or beef, finely chopped onions and parsley, salt and black pepper. We use a little tomato paste too, but it's optional.
- Water to boil: We boil the dumplings in plain water, but some recipes add chicken broth or beef broth in the simmering water. This takes the taste of the final dish to a whole new level for sure.
- Yogurt sauce: We combine yogurt with salt and mashed garlic. If you are using strained yogurt, you may need to add a little water to thin it.
- Spicy butter sauce: We use a combination of butter and olive oil, but you can make it with butter only. As for the spices, we use red pepper flakes aka pul biber in Turkish. You can use aleppo pepper, paprika or chili too. Also we use dried mint. We don't recommend leaving dried mint out. Even if it is new to you, give it a chance. The smell and taste will be heavenly!
We sometimes turn the butter sauce into a tomato sauce by adding a little tomato paste and a little water in the pan. It tastes amazing too.
How To Make
First make the dough by combining flour, eggs, salt and water until everything holds together. Knead it for 5-10 minutes. It won't be a very soft dough. We make the dough with our hands, but you can use a food processor or a stand mixer if you want. Cover the dough ball with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine ground meat, finely chopped onions, parsley, salt and pepper.
Now roll dough out with a rolling pin. It doesn't have to be very thin. You can use a pasta roller for this step if you have one. Make it about 2mm or 1/16 inches. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut it first into strips and then into small squares.
Then shape the dumplings. Put a little filling on each square and close them up one by one to give each a bundle shape. How? As you see in the pictures below, first fold the tiny square into two and seal all the opposite corners of the dough in the center. Then you have this bundle-like shape. It takes us no longer than 20 minutes to finish them all!
Put the dumplings you make on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can sprinkle a little flour on them to prevent sticking. Now, either cook or bake and store the manti dumplings.
Next, cook the dumplings in hot water just like you cook pasta. Heat 4 cups of water in a pot and add the dumplings when it boils. Let them cook until softened for about 10 minutes. Transfer them into bowls with a slotted spoon.
Finally prepare the sauces and serve. For the garlic yogurt sauce, mix yogurt, salt and garlic. For the butter sauce; melt butter and add in olive oil. Add in dried mint and red pepper flakes, stir. Remove from heat after about 20 seconds.
When serving, pour some yogurt on the dumplings and drizzle a little butter sauce over it right before serving. We also love to sprinkle a little sumac on it. YUM!
How To Store
If you make more dumplings than needed or if you are making a big batch with a friend, you can store them for later cooking. To do this, bake the dumplings on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Let them cook and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Tips and Tricks
- Let the manti dough sit covered with a damp kitchen towel for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
- Use 90% lean ground beef or ground lamb for the filling to have a better taste and texture.
- The ground beef filling shouldn’t be juicy. Otherwise the juice will soften the dough squares and distort the shape of dumplings. So don’t puree the onion. It’s better to chop the onion finely with a knife.
- Close up the tiny manti dough squares as fast as you can. Otherwise, they might dry out as they sit and it gets harder to seal them.
- Just like you do when cooking pasta, add a pinch of salt and a drop of oil into the simmering water when cooking manti. They won’t stick to one another this way.
- To have an even richer flavor, you can add chicken stock or beef stock in the simmering water and then cook the fresh dumplings in it.
- Cook the dumplings for about 10-15 minutes, not longer than this. Check them after 10 minutes and remove if they are tender enough.
- The best part of making dumplings with some friends is that you have lots of it in the end and you can freeze some for a future cooking! It becomes an easy dish then!
Armenian Style vs Turkish Style
Manti or mantu is a very famous dish in Armenian cuisine too. So how is it different from the Turkish version?
- First, their shapes are different. The Armenian recipe uses open-faced dumplings also known as sini manti. They are stuffed with a savory beef filling (or lamb) and look like canoes.
- The second difference is about the cooking method. Turkish dumplings are cooked in simmering water just like pasta whereas Armenian dumplings are baked until golden. The Turkish version is only lightly baked if it is to be stored in the fridge or freezer.
- Finally the serving is a bit different too. Baked Armenian dumplings are served in some broth which is made with a combination of tomato paste and chicken broth (or beef/lamb broth). It is then topped with garlicky yogurt. On the other hand, boiled Turkish dumplings are served with garlicky yogurt sauce and a spiced butter sauce on the very top.
- In both cuisines, it is optional to sprinkle extra spices like sumac, red pepper flakes and dried mint on dumplings right before eating.
Although the traditional recipe calls for a meaty filling, vegetarian versions are becoming popular too. You can stuff the dumplings with cooked green lentils, potatoes or even pumpkin puree. What else to add totally depends on your taste. Also, you can prepare different sauces too. Traditionally, it is topped with yogurt sauce, but you can use sour cream too.
If you want to make it vegan, you have to leave the egg in the dough out and use a plant based yogurt for topping. Another creation could be making a sauce with tomato puree and basil.
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
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Turkish Manti Dumplings
Turkish manti dumplings. Homemade pasta filled with a spicy ground beef mixture, cooked and topped with garlicky yogurt and butter sauce.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 200g ground beef (90% lean)
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- ¼ bunch parsley, chopped finely
- ½ tsp salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp pepper paste
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes or chili, sweet or hot
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 4 cups water to boil dumplings
- Make the dough by combining flour, eggs, salt and water until everything holds together. Knead it for 5-10 minutes. It won't be a very soft dough.
Knead it well until you have a not very soft dough. You can add extra water or flour to have this result. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine ground meat, finely chopped onions, parsley, salt and pepper. Put it aside.
Sift a little flour on the counter. Grab the dough ball and roll it out, not very thin, about 2mm thick.
Cut it first into strips, then into small squares.
Place about ½ teaspoon filling on each square.
Close them up patiently. First fold the tiny square into two and seal all the opposite corners of the dough in the center. Put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Heat 4 cups of water in a pot, add in a pinch of salt and a drop of oil. Bring it to boil. Add in the dumplings and let it simmer until tender, for 10-12 minutes.
Transfer them into bowls with a slotted spoon.
For the yogurt sauce, mix yogurt, salt and garlic.
For the butter and oil sauce, melt butter and add in olive oil. Add in dried mint and red pepper flakes or paprika, stir. Take it after about 20 seconds.
To serve, pour some yogurt sauce on the dumplings and drizzle a little oil sauce over it before serving.
- Let the manti dough sit covered with a damp kitchen towel for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
Use a 90% lean ground beef for the filling to have a better taste and texture.
The ground beef filling shouldn’t be juicy. Otherwise the juice will soften the dough squares and distort the shape of dumplings. So don’t puree the onion. It’s better to chop the onion with a knife.
Close up the tiny manti dough squares as fast as you can. Otherwise, they might dry out as they sit and it gets harder to seal them.
Just like you do when cooking pasta, add a pinch of salt and a drop of oil into the simmering water when cooking manti. They won’t stick to one another this way.
To have even richer flavor, you can add beef stock in the simmering water and then cook the fresh dumplings in it.
Cook the dumplings for about 10-15 minute, not longer than this. Check them after 10 minutes and remove if they are tender enough.
To store: If you make more dumplings than needed or if you are making a big batch with a friend, you can store them for later cooking. To do this, bake the dumplings on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Let them cook and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 687
- Sugar: 7.5 g
- Sodium: 3070.1 mg
- Fat: 33 g
- Carbohydrates: 54.7 g
- Protein: 47.1 g
- Cholesterol: 202.1 mg
Keywords: manti, turkish manti, manti dumplings, manti recipe
I prefer Crimean Tatar version of Manti which can be served as with yogurt and paprika/butter sauce (Tatar Aş) as well as in soup form (Kaşık Börek), also with yogurt. I just looked at Greek Style Mantia, as they call it. Recipe calls for 16 egg yolks.
My family enjoys manti, but it is not practical for a week night, so we came up with mock-manti! Make the same meat filling, roll into small balls and boil the meat balls with bow tie pasta. Serve with the same sauces as the regular manti! Afiet olsun!
What size are the dough squares you cut?
Zerrin & Yusuf says
Making the squares as small as you can is the ideal one. But to give a measurement, we can say the squares could be around 1 or 1 and 1/2 inches.
Seems like I remember two types of manti I had in Turkey, the perfect very small and very uniform city manti-boiled and the taller more oddly shaped village manti baked in the wood-fired ovens that also bake the lamacun. I much prefer the crunchy topped village manti.
Della Humphrey says
In am so excited to even think about doing this recipe. I am 78 years old, live alone, addicted to the Turkish series Sen Cal Kapimi. I am watching it for the fourth time and stop it every time a dish is mentioned so I can research. In one episode a husband and wife make this dish. I thought it looked very time consuming but when they finished and begin to eat I could almost taste it. When I saw your picture of all the little squares with the little bits of meat, I knew it was the same dish! I have a list of dishes to try just from that series! So glad I found you, Zerrin and Yusuf! Della from North Carolina, USA
Zerrin & Yusuf says
Welcome to our blog! Such a lovely story how you found us and our manti recipe. It is a pretty common dish in Turkey, so it is not surprising they use it in a Turkish series. Manti is mostly made to beloved ones as it requires some time and effort. But it is definitely worth. Let us know if you happen to try it. Would love to hear your thoughts! Cheers!
I actually got to your site for the sauces cos I bought a package of manti and i wanted to see how it looked like when served. Agree with you on one thing, packaged manti is quite tasteless. The yogurt sauce and spicy butter sauce made it better though. 🙂 next time I will try making some from scratch using your recipe. Would like to know what other Turkish dish would go well with manti? Thanks!
Happy to see you here on our blog! The yogurt sauce and spicy butter can work on almost anything. Right? Please let us know how you find it when you have a chance to make manti from scratch. Well, as for the dishes going well with manti, we mostly have it with a salad like shepherd salad. As manti is quite filling, nothing else is needed.
Javeriya Shah says
This is my favourite dish and I love it way too much . I'm definitely going to try this . Keep up the good work !!!
I wish I could eat in my home and I think it will be really tasty
Lisa Aktug says
I just saw your name! Her name is Zerrin, too!! It must be a sign 😉
Such a sweet coincidence! Please give my best wishes to her 🙂